New kit helps wheelchair-bound boy climb and canoe

Beau Rendall with mum Tracy who is planning a fundraising challenge. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Beau Rendall with mum Tracy who is planning a fundraising challenge. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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CLIMBING trees is a right of passage for most children – but for one schoolboy it has proved to be life-changing.

Beau Rendall, who was born with spina bifida, had expected to sit on the sidelines while his classmates took part in activities ranging from archery to canoeing.

But the 11-year-old, who is confined to a wheelchair, stunned family and friends when he scaled a giant tree while on a school trip to Lagganlia, in Kincraig.

The Craigentinny Primary pupil was also able to take to the water in a kayak on his own as instructors at the outdoor centre had borrowed specialist equipment.

Mum Tracy, 47, who accompanied him on the five-day excursion, said the experience had transformed brave Beau’s outlook on life.

“It was wonderful to see him doing it. The look of sheer joy on his face was just brilliant,” she said.

“I took lots of DVDs expecting to be sitting things out. I didn’t expect him to be able to do most of the activities, but he got to do absolutely everything.

“For him to be able to go out on the water on his own was such a huge leap in terms of freedom and independence, it really was life-changing.

“He went up a tree, using his arms to pull himself up with a special handle, and was doing archery as well, which he loved.

“It has completely changed the way he looks at things. Now he doesn’t think ‘I can’t’.”

Beau, from Craigentinny, spent the first two weeks of his life in hospital and required an operation to insert a shunt – a tube for draining brain fluid – when he was just a week old.

Evening News readers and Spire Murrayfield Hospital raised funds to buy him a specialist bed in 2009 and he became the first patient to benefit from “sat nav” equipment – which used image guidance technology to “map” his brain, reducing the need for regular operations.

Now mum-of-four Tracy is hoping to raise £5000 to make the outdoor specialist equipment available to children in Edinburgh. She is taking part in a 1000-burpee challenge for Children in Need, where every pound raised means she gets to do one less of the crunching exercises.

“If we could get this kit available for any child to use, it would be amazing,” she said.

Back Tracy at